Effective leaders write well.
A well-written piece exhibits clear thinking on the part of the author. If your thinking is flawed, muddled or incomplete, this will surely show up in your writing. Therefore it is important for effective leaders to practice impactful writing.
A well-written passage possesses the following characteristics:
a. It is structured (introduction, body, conclusion, all conveying a clear message)
b. The grammar and spellings are all fine – no glaring errors
c. The message flows well, is easy to understand and grabs your attention
Then there are other characteristics that must be followed depending on the type of passage that you are writing. Since this topic is vast and cannot be covered in this short passage, the following are a few examples of rules for impactful writing:
i. If responding to a question (via email or other), begin by answering the question. Then support your answer by other factual information
ii. If it is a call to action (need someone’s input, review or suggestions), then clearly layout your expectation, how much and in what form the response is required and a deadline (I forget the deadline most of the time)
iii. If you are taking a stance or a position, then unambiguously state your position, decision or viewpoint and then support it with sufficient rationale
iv. If you are telling a story or relating an experience, then build it up, leading to the punch-line. Make it personal and gripping to the reader
These may not come easily to the beginner, but have to be practiced. In spite of writing a lot, I still have to force myself to remember to answer the question first (item (i) above)
The good thing is that this can be practiced. While writing is one way to practice, ironically you can also get better by reading well-written passages.
My favorite newspaper is the Economist. Most passages are short, well-structured, make a point or take an unambiguous position, and really conclude well. I practice my “impactful writing” by reading the Economist.
What are some of the methods and techniques you use to develop good writing habits? Use the comments below to indicate your thoughts.